Sports | June 18, 2021 11:44 am

After Rejecting ESPN’s “MNF” Offer, Is Peyton Manning Headed to Amazon as NFL Analyst?

Amazon has exclusive rights to "Thursday Night Football" beginning with the 2022-23 season

Peyton Manning
Former Broncos and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
Russell Lansford/Icon Sportswire via Getty

Already in hot pursuit of landing Al Michaels to do play-by-play once it begins exclusively streaming Thursday Night Football starting in the 2022-23 season, Amazon could be going after the target a top sports TV executive calls “The NFL’s white whale” … Peyton Manning.

Backed by the bottomless pockets of Jeff Bezos, Amazon Prime Video could throw mountains of money at Manning and get the former Colt and Bronco to finally say “yes” to taking an analyst role after saying “no” so consistently in the past, including to ESPN and Monday Night Football.

“Sources said Amazon has grappled with the idea of pursuing Manning as its main analyst,” per Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. “With Amazon potentially teaming with NBC and hiring Al Michaels as its lead play-by-player, the company could go with a star power combo of Michaels and Manning. Amazon also could offer Manning ‘Tony Romo money.’” (CBS inked Romo to a 10-year contract worth $180 million last year.)

As Marchand makes clear, nothing is imminent between Manning and Amazon as the streaming giant is in the midst of a thorough search and has yet to formalize anything with Michaels. If they do and also work out a deal with Sunday Night Football All-Star executive producer Fred Gaudelli, that might be enough to entice Manning to finally step into the booth.

Paying Michaels, Manning and to a lesser extent Gaudelli would be quite pricey, but having a marquee broadcast booth could be worth it for Amazon as it might influence the NFL to make sure the annual slate of TNF games, which typically underwhelms, is stocked with prime matchups.

“If Amazon were to hire Michaels and Manning, would the NFL really give the new platform a mediocre schedule?” Marchand writes. “Thursday night games have limitations because of travel restrictions and other rules that can water down the matchups, but Michaels and Manning would give Amazon a marquee team … There is only one Manning. NFL TV executives have been like Captain Ahab with him. Now, the streamers could be on the hunt.”